Welcome to The Ringling
This past January 2nd was the first day of work for The Ringling’s new Chief Conservator, Barbara Ramsay. Prior to accepting her position at The Ringling, Barbara worked in the Washington, DC area for almost fifteen years as Director of Conservation Services at ARTEX Fine Art Services. One of the projects that Barbara coordinated while at ARTEX was the restoration of four monumental Frans De Vos circus banners, which are a part of Howard Tibbals’ collection at The Ringling. The De Vos banners were a challenge to conserve, in horrific condition and nearly beyond saving. Over seven years Barbara and her team worked to stabilize the paint and repair the canvas on the banners and soon we will have the opportunity to see these Belgium works of art in an exhibit next November in the Museum of Art. Barbara’s first major project since joining The Ringling staff is also featured in this edition. A portrait by Allan Ramsay, gifted by Christopher Jay Brown, in memory of Ruth Anne Brown, was added to our permanent collection at the end of 2013. The Ringling currently owns a full-length portrait of Miss Mary Lillias Scott by Allan Ramsay and the three-quarter portrait of John Campbell, 3rd Earl of Breadalbane will be a wonderful addition for comparison. Barbara will be working over the next several months to clean and prepare the Ramsay for display in our galleries. We are thrilled to have Barbara as a colleague. I hope you enjoy reading her article The Science of Art.
Also featured in The Ringling is the hard working staff of Visitor Services. Led by Mark Morgan, Assistant Director for Visitor Services, this talented staff of employees and volunteers make our visitor’s experience of the highest quality. Mark monitors the entire visitor experience from entrance to departure. He and his team develop staff training and recommend solutions to visitor annoyances. For instance, on our busiest days during March the admission line used to extend down the block. During this past year, through training and the implementation of our volunteer Ambassador program, the longest wait on our busiest day has been cut in half. There is still much to do to make the visitor experience seamless, but Mark, the visitor service team, and every member of The Ringling staff are dedicated to making your visit to The Ringling exceptional.
Memorial Day marks the beginning of this year’s Blue Star Museums collaboration. Developed by the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the Department of Defense, this program includes more than 2,000 museums in the United States. It offers free admission to the nation’s active duty military personnel (including National guard and Reserve) and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day annually. The Ringling is proud to be a partner in this annual program.